Before sending parcels through the post, it is often best practice to check that the items you are sending are not prohibited or restricted from being sent. Prohibited and Restricted items are referenced across many parcel networks to adhere with national and international regulations – ensuring that items are safe to post.

As the sender of the parcel, you are responsible for checking whether the items you are sending are prohibited or restricted from being sent via our parcel networks.

Here’s a helpful list of our UK prohibited items and internationally prohibited items.

The difference between prohibited and restricted goods when posting parcels

While prohibited and restricted items may sound the same, there is an actual difference - prohibited items must never be sent in the post, while restricted items may be sent in the post, but restrictions will apply.

We wanted to explain this further, to help you achieve parcel delivery success!

Restricted goods

It's important to be aware of potential restrictions when shipping goods, both within the UK and Internationally. There is a surprisingly long list of items that should not be sent in the mail, which also extends to items that may only be sent under certain conditions. These are deemed to be 'restricted'.

Items can be restricted due to packaging, volume, quantity, labelling or the product itself.

What exactly does restricted mean?

In a shipping sense, restricted can mean one of two things;


1. It could be that an item is allowed, but only within a certain quantity.

2. A certain item can be sent by post, but only if it meets certain criteria.



For example, sending batteries are restricted by type (car batteries are prohibited); the amount must fall under a certain level for quality control. This means that damaged or defective batteries are forbidden. In addition, lithium ion batteries may only be sent with - but not connected to - an electronic device.

Restrictions like these on UK courier deliveries are generally in place for safety reasons; to prevent fire, damage to packages or to prevent risks to health and hygiene.

In addition to those set out by the industry, they may also vary between courier companies – so it’s important that you check them before booking your delivery. Fortunately, ipostparcels offer a list of restricted items that may be carried, but only on a no compensation basis, meaning shipping is at the risk of the sender.

What about International restricted goods?

A restriction can also mean that an item may only be sent if licence or permission has been gained from the relevant authority, but this usually refers to shipping internationally.

Rules and procedures will vary from country to country so it's incredibly important to check the restrictions for the country you are shipping to ahead of time, to factor in application for any licences that may be required. This information can usually be obtained from the customs authority of the intended country, and we give any information we have about restrictions on our country-specific pages within our International shipping pages.

Sending a restricted item without a licence will result in the package being seized by customs.

Restrictions can often vary from country to country due to import and safety regulations. Whilst other reasons can include;



  • Economics: Countries create trade barriers to protect their economy from the risks of international trading.
  • Religious Values: Some countries with a strong Muslim faith have very strict rules on which texts are allowed to enter the country.
  • The Environment: To protect the native ecosystem from alien pests or disease, hence why many countries carry restrictions on things like seeds and dried fruit

Prohibited items

It is against the policy of ipostparcels to carry perishable items, liquids (including alcoholic beverages), paint and inks (excluding printer cartridges) plants, prescription drugs and medicines, among other goods.

For more information about prohibited items, see our International and UK pages.

Breakable, valuable and dangerous goods

The ipostparcels service is not suitable for the carriage of breakable or valuable goods, and we do not carry dangerous or restricted goods. If your parcel contains anything that could fall into these categories, any cover provided by us (either standard or extended contents cover) may be invalidated, and if your parcel causes damage to the parcels of other senders, we may recover the costs of repairing such damage from you.

For more information about sending breakable, valuable and dangerous items in the post, see our International and UK pages.

For the reasons above, when sending goods in the mail it's important to be aware of items that are prohibited or restricted from being sent. Please make yourself aware of them before sending a parcel to ensure your parcel is delivered to your recipient safely and without delay.

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